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Crews cleaning up at Wellington fire site

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    Demolition crews make progress Thursday at the site of the birdseed plant fire in downtown Wellington.



WELLINGTON — Crews are continuing to clean up the site of the old birdseed factory on Depot Street after it burned down in September while police continue to search for the arsonist they say is responsible.

The Sept. 17 blaze engulfed the building at Depot and Main streets at the same time two smaller fires broke out in the village, leading authorities to believe all three fires were suspicious.

Nearly two months later, police still are looking for a culprit.

“We continue to work the leads and work the case,” police Chief Tim Barfield said. “We hope we’re on the right track to make some kind of decision before the end of the year.”

Being that in an arson case “all the evidence burns up,” they’re often hard to solve, Barfield said.

“We like to think that we’re closing in, I can’t say on what exactly what yet because we’re still working through stuff, but I’d like to think we’re closing in,” Barfield said. “We’ve put a lot of time and energy into this so far and worked with some other agencies to help us narrow down our list of important people we want to speak with.”

Fire Chief Mike Wetherbee said in his opinion the whole building, including silos that haven’t been used in decades, should be demolished.

“I know they’re over there actively cleaning up the site right now and that’s been going on for about a week,” Wetherbee said.

Whether to take down the silos has been controversial, as some say they’re iconic to the village.

“Some people think it’s kind of a village landmark,” Wetherbee said. “With that amount of fire and that amount of heat, it’s safe to say the integrity of the silos has been compromised.”

The silos are made with clay tile, Wetherbee said, and the heat from the fire weakened the structure.

He encourages people to continue calling police with any information about the fires.

“I know (the police) are actively following some leads, and it’s just one of those things where the littlest bit of information could be what ties everything together,” Wetherbee said. “They’ve continued to work actively on any and all tips and leads that have been coming in.”

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or Follow her on Twitter @Jodi_Weinberger.

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